Library & Research

← Back to gallery home

Carl Fellman Schaefer

Carl Fellman Schaefer (1903-1995) was a distinguished Canadian artist, noted not only for his work as a painter and printmaker, but also for his service as an official war artist, and his role as a teacher and mentor. Born in Hanover, Ontario, Schaefer is often identified as a regionalist, based on his attachment to the rural landscape, which provided inspiration for his work. From 1921 to 1924, he studied at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, under the direction of J.E.H. MacDonald (1873-1932), Arthur Lismer (1885-1969), G.A. Reid (1860-1947), Robert Holmes (1861-1930) and others. Schaefer began teaching at Toronto's Central Technical School in 1930, and subsequently held a number of teaching positions, including long tenure at the Ontario College of Art (1948-1970).

Schaefer had many friends among painters and poets. From his student days, he was closely associated with members of the Group of Seven, and occasionally exhibited with them. When the Group disbanded in 1933, Schaefer became a charter member of its successor, the Canadian Group of Painters (1936). Schaefer's memberships in other art associations include the Canadian Society of Graphic Art (1932), Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (1933), Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (associate 1949; academician 1964; companion 1972), and Royal Society of Arts (1977). Among numerous honours, he received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1941, the first awarded to a Canadian. In 1978 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

The Library of Carl Fellman Schaefer consists of more than 1,700 titles, which are mainly twentieth century imprints. Material types include books, periodicals, catalogues of exhibitions, permanent collections and art sales, pamphlets, manuals and other technical materials (e.g. paper sample books), and printed ephemera (e.g. exhibition announcements). In subject scope, the Library reflects not only Schaefer's vocation as an artist, but also the milieu in which he worked. His Library encompasses art history and theory in Canada and abroad, artistic methods and materials, and studies of individual artists. The Library provides insights into Schaefer's service as a war artist (RCAF 1943-1946), his years as a teacher, his longstanding friendships, and his interests in history, literature and architecture.

The Library is rich in annotations and inscriptions which highlight Schaefer's associations with Canadian poets George Johnston (b. 1913) and E.J. Pratt (1882-1964), the critic Walter Abell (1897-1956), and a host of artists, such as Thoreau MacDonald (1901-1989; represented by more than 60 association titles), Charles Comfort (1900-1994), Bertram Brooker (1888-1955), Louis Muhlstock (b.1904) and others.

The National Gallery of Canada received the Library of Carl Fellman Schaefer in four parts, donated between 1996 and 1998 by Schaefer's sons, Mark and Paul Schaefer.

Four item-level finding aids provide bibliographic descriptions of titles in the Library of Carl Fellman Schaefer. Records for items in parts one, two, and four are entered in the online catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.